Be Careful of Technology during a Pandemic

Modern technology has allowed information to be shared instantly, both good information and misinformation. It has given people, both experts and average people like me a voice to be heard. Unfortunately, with COVID-19, a lot of us are facing fear and anxiety. There is still no vaccine. Therefore, many are seeking ways to prevent and manage the disease with over-the-counter drugs, home remedies, or all other sorts of therapeutic approaches. President Trump has been making dangerous claims about hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial drug. However, drugs like these come with many side effects.

There is no proof that any drug can cure or prevent infection with the coronavirus. But in the face of an exploding pandemic with a frightening death toll, people are desperate for a bit of hope, a chance to believe there is something that will help.

What We Still Don’t Know

The fact still remains that we currently have not studied enough about this virus. It will take many years for research and participants to run trials, then run some more, and have this research be evaluated by scientists and researchers.

President Trump has recommended repeatedly, despite warnings from his own health officials that there is little data to support its widespread use as a treatment against the virus.

When public figures like president trump spread hope about drugs that can have serious side-effects, that can be very dangerous. Not only that, but social media easily allows friends and family that you trust to spread similar misinformation – without fact-checking. I heard on the radio that WhatsApp will be implemented measures to combat this spread of false claims amidst this pandemic. See “Facebook launches fact-checking service on WhatsApp in Italy to fight coronavirus hoaxes”.

Be Careful What You Read

Although I am not a doctor, as an occupational therapist with a research background, I want to caution the public about what they do and believe during these times of a pandemic. With modern technology, a lot of images and even videos can be manipulated to look real. What’s even scarier is emerging technologies such as deepfakes that allow videos to appear real with generated voices and faces of humans. So be careful of posts you see on WhatsApp, Instagram, and especially Facebook.

What Does Work – Sleep

I can tell you that what does work to help you prepare and build immunity against the coronavirus is sleep. Studies have been done on similar diseases and sleep can be very beneficial for your immune system.

There was a graded association with average sleep duration, with those with <7 hours sleep 2.94 times (CI[95%]=1.18–7.30) more likely to develop a cold than those with ≥ 8 hours (Cohen, 2009).

We have known this for many years. You hear it all the time, get 8 hours of sleep. Reflect on yourself and your family and whether you really do get enough. With the current shelter in place orders, you should have no excuse not to get enough sleep. Develop good sleep habits and teach your children the same habits too.

Further Reading

I am a big fan of Google Scholar for my research. During this pandemic, Google Scholar has provided links for journal articles on COVID-19 on the bottom of the landing page:

You’re much better off reading these articles and forwarding this research that what others are sending you. Be careful out there, we seem to have forgotten that on the Internet, anyone can make a website and write a post about COVID-19.

What other sources do you like for information? Comment below.


Sources:

Cohen, S., Doyle, W. J., Alper, C. M., Janicki-Deverts, D., & Turner, R. B. (2009). Sleep habits and susceptibility to the common cold. Archives of internal medicine169(1), 62-67.

 

OTDUDE
About the Author: Jeff is the lead author and editor of OTDUDE.com, where he covers all things Occupational Therapy.

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